Shallin Tse’s cookie journey

September 12, 2015 08:01
Tasting cookies her shop bakes is a daily routine for Shallin Tse Ning. Photo: RTHK

One of the daily routines of Shallin Tse Ning is tasting different cookies her shop bakes.

The job is part of quality control.

While she enjoys being a co-owner of Cookies Quartet, a cookie and palmier business she set up with her partners, running a business was never part of her plan, nor was joining the Miss Hong Kong pageant 30 years ago.

“I was bored and wanted to do something different. It was kind of impulsive,” Tse told public broadcaster RTHK.

After becoming Miss Hong Kong 1985, Tse got the chance to be an actress but she didn’t enjoy the job at all.

Tse got married and devoted herself to being a good wife and a good mother.

That meant spending a lot of time in the kitchen.

“That’s where I found my real interest and my talent.”

Unfortunately, the marriage ended in divorce after 14 years.

To support herself, Tse got into the moon cake trade and later into the cookie business.

Cookies Quartet opened a few a years ago, right after the global financial crisis, but the economic woes somehow spared the fledgling business.

Quite the reverse, it took off almost right from the start.

"During bad times, people are more careful with their money. They want to spend on something of good quality,” Tse said.

Tse's cookies use natural ingredients and have no preservatives.

She makes it a point to emphasize these qualities whenever she can, but she is also willing to take things a step further -- she lets customers taste her cookies.

The free tasting has made her cookies popular by word of mouth.

While making money is important, Tse wants the business to be something more.

She has been donating cookies to elderly recipients and spreading God’s word in the packaging.

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Shallin Tse said she has a knack for cooking. Usually, she can tell how certain food is cooked just by tasting them. Photo: Cookies Quartet

EJ Insight writer